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Dr. Bart Miller: restoring smiles, preserving local history

ROCKWALL, TX (March 26, 2014) When it comes to creating beautiful, healthy smiles, Rockwall Crossing Orthodontics has a history of putting patients on the right track.

In fact, for Dr. Bart Miller, serving the Rockwall community is a long-standing family tradition – one that goes beyond restoring smiles, to preserving local history as well.

Miles of Smiles

Dr. Bart’s practice is located inside Rockwall’s refurbished Missouri-Kansas-Texas train station, situated one block south of the post office.  The “Katy” green building at 711 S. Goliad St. has been designated as a historic landmark by the Rockwall County Historical Foundation.

The interior walls are painted buff and brown, the same colors used nearly a century ago. They seem to talk with their collection of railroad memorabilia.

The potbelly stove in the waiting area offers visitors a warm reception.

Here, patients all ages are treated to friendly, old-fashioned service combined with the latest in orthodontic care.

Dr. Bart’s father, Dr. Frank Miller, breathed new life into the building when he purchased it in 1984 and moved it from its original location near the tracks at Townsend Drive, and renovated it for use as an orthodontic office. Dr. Frank was Rockwall’s first full-time dentist back in 1965. He was the also area’s first orthodontist, beginning in 1978.

“He thought it would be fun to preserve something that was a part of Rockwall,” said Dr. Bart, whose dad since retired from the practice. “Fortunately, the material used in construction was virgin oak and East Texas white pine, and it was in very good shape under a solid roof and many coats of paint.”

Dr. Bart added that his father’s career began as a dental officer in the U.S. Navy. He served three terms as Rockwall Mayor, served on the RISD school board, the Rockwall Economic Development Corporation, and the Rockwall YMCA.  A tireless supporter of the community, Dr. Frank now serves on the Rockwall County Appraisal District and is active at First Christian Church.

“Dad went to great lengths to ensure the restoration was authentic. He found blueprints, matched original colors, visited the MKT station in Denison, and traveled around to see various restored stations,” said Dr. Bart. ”I was about 16 when the building was moved, and it was quite the show in Rockwall. They had to cut it in half; it barely fit through two telephone poles with only six inches of leeway. They ended up taking off the gutters, and soaking down the sides to make it slicker.”

The structure is actually Rockwall’s second train station, Dr. Bart explained – built in 1925 after the city’s  first station, built in 1897, was destroyed by fire. The new station served residents well into the 1950′s. Later it was used as a feed store and warehouse.

Dr. Bart shares his father’s passion for preservation. The floor plan remains almost identical. The oak and pine floors have been refinished to their original state, the freight area has been converted into an open treatment room, and the Station Master’s office serves as the business office.

But as Dr. Bart points out, “Rockwall Crossing Orthodontics is not just about showcasing a historic building. It’s about building relationships that last.”

Straight Talk

“The best part about being in the orthodontic business is getting to know the people in the community, while helping them achieve beautiful, healthy smiles,” Dr. Bart said. “Since the average treatment time for full braces is two years, I get to see children and their parents on a regular basis, and over time, we develop real friendships. It’s like family. That’s the kind of history that’s really special.”

Dr. Bart’s staff has been with him a long time, too.

“They mean everything to the practice,” he said. “When patients call or come by, they aren’t greeted by a building, and I’m not necessarily the first person they talk to. It’s the receptionist who answers the phone or the dental assistant. That’s why it’s so important that everyone on the staff show our patients how much they are appreciated. Everyone at Rockwall Crossing is dedicated to making sure our patients feel comfortable and informed. We treat everyone who comes through our doors as if they are a guest in our home.”

“We know we’re doing a good job when we see the results in a beautiful, healthy smile,” Dr. Bart said, “but it can be even more gratifying to see our patients leave our office in a better mood than when they came in.”

Service with a Smile

Dr. Bart Miller and family. Photo by Bill Carter Photography.

Bart was born and raised in Rockwall, graduating from Rockwall High in 1986. He attended Northwestern University and graduated from Rice University in 1990 – majoring in Spanish “because I enjoyed it,” he said.

Like his father, Bart joined the U.S. Navy. He was commissioned as Surface Warefare Officer, accepted into the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program, and served on board the guided-missile cruiser, USS Truxtun, stationed in Washington state. Following his service, he started dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, completing his residency at Baylor College of Dentistry.

“At one point I thought about being a veterinarian,” Dr. Bart said. “I was in ROTC, I had my pre-med stuff done, and I went into nuclear propulsion. But I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I talked to a lot of people, and nobody ever really jumped up and down about what they did. I realized my dad LOVED what he did – and it looked more and more appealing to me.”

Dr. Bart has been practicing at Rockwall Crossing Orthodontics for the past 11 years. He credits his wife for encouraging him to pursue a career in orthodontics.

“Just do it,” she told me. “I love my wife. She’s the reason for all my success,” he smiled. Dr. Bart and Sandi have been married 21 years and have three children – Wyatt, Grant, and Josie.

Dr. Bart serves on the board of the Rockwall Family YMCA, the RISD Education Foundation, and the Rotary Club. He was even recognized as the Rockwall YMCA’s 2012 Father of the Year, an honor he says comes from being raised by great parents.

“I try to emulate what my dad taught me. Even when you are tired at the end of the day and the kids want you to go out and play and shoot hoops – remember, five years later they may not be asking anymore, so be there in the moment.”

Brace Yourself

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children come in for for their first visit to an orthodontist at age seven – even though most do not start treatment that early. By that age, kids have a mix of permanent and baby teeth, and it is possible to assess developing problems.

One of out every five Rockwall Crossing patients are adults, taking advantage of our newest products like clear brackets or Invisalign.

Rockwall Crossing hours are Monday and Tuesday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m.; Wednesday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

For a free consultation or to schedule an appointment, call 972-771-1117, visit RockwallCrossingOrthodontics.com, or drop by the dental depot to say hello and experience a bit of Rockwall history.

Written by Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News, all rights reserved. Photos by Blue Ribbon News. 

Rockwall Crossing Orthodontics paid a nominal fee for promotional services.